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About Cyril Pahinui

Hawaiian slack key guitarist Cyril Pahinui was born on April 21, 1950, and raised on the island of Oahu; his father, Pops Gabby Pahinui, was a famed slack key guitarist as well, with the family's home a frequent gathering place for local musicians. Influenced by his father as well as family friends like Atta Isaacs and Sonny Chillingworth, Pahinui took up the guitar at age seven, quickly gaining entry to the endless jam sessions going on in his home; he began playing professionally about five years later, and at age 15 he and his brother Bla started a rock band dubbed the Characters. In 1968 Pahinui joined the group Sunday Manoa; a two-year Army stint followed, and upon his return from duty, he joined his father on a series of classic LPs cut for the Panini label. During the mid-'70s he formed the Sandwich Isle Band, one of the first young groups to revive the traditional steel guitar and perform the jazz-inspired material of the pre-World War II era; in 1979, Pahuini also joined the Peter Moon Band.

After a series of solo records as well as a collaboration with siblings Bla and Martin, he signed to the Dancing Cat label in 1994 to cut the acclaimed 6 & 12 String Slack Key, winner of the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Instrumental Album of the Year; Pahuini would win 19 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards during his lifetime. The follow-up to 6 & 12 String Slack Key, Po Mahina, appeared in 1997. Two years later Pahuini teamed with Bob Brozman to cut the duets collection Four Hands Sweet & Hot, and the guitarist's solo album He'eia arrived in 2007. Pahuini was admitted to Honolulu's Queen's Medical Center in February 2016; pneumonia and other health issues would keep him at Queen's until his death there in November 2018 at the age of 68. His passing came shortly after the release of the album Marketplace, which comprised recordings Pahuini had made during the '90s. ~ Jason Ankeny

Waimanalo, HI
21 Apr 1950

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